Talent Circles

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Myths About Hiring Workers with Disabilities

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

When candidates identify themselves as being disabled its sometimes triggers human emotions and thought processes that simply aren’t true. When it comes to the disabled workforce there are lots of myths out there about the downfalls and obstacles employers have to overcome and jump through to maintain a profitable and smooth workforce. These myths create the wrong impression for new business owners and those who have zero to little experience in disability hiring. Take it from me; it’s not bad as they say it is.

5 myths dispelled about hiring workers with disabilities

Reasonable accommodations are expensive. Companies are required by law according to the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA to offer employees a reasonable accommodation to their job if they have a disability. The assumption is that these accommodations are expensive but this is not the case. The average cost of a reasonable accommodation to an employer is less than $500.

I don’t have any employees at my company who have a disability. Disabilities can be visible or invisible meaning that they can be seen or not. According to the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability employment policy, 19.1% of the American workforce is disabled as of February 2014.

Persons who are deaf make ideal employees in noisy work environments. Loud noises of a certain vibratory nature can cause further harm to the auditory system. Persons who are deaf should be hired for all jobs that they have the skills and talents to perform. No person with a disability should be prejudged regarding employment opportunities.

Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers compensation insurance rates. Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization's accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.

Under the ADA, an employer cannot fire an employee who has a disability. Employers can fire workers with disabilities under three conditions:
  1. The termination is unrelated to the disability or
  2. The employee does not meet legitimate requirements for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without a reasonable accommodation or
  3. Because of the employee’s disability, he or she poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace.
With these myths now dispelled it’s important that employers learn the benefits of hiring those who are disabled. It’s also important that job seekers don’t classify all disabled workers, as those confined to a wheelchair because there are hundreds of disabilities out there that most aren’t even aware of if the candidate didn’t flat out tell them. Be proactive and start hiring based on merit instead of looking at someone and disqualifying them based on disabilities.

How has your company taken strides to hire more disabled workers in your workplace?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell


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